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836 Nature and Human Nature

From rh•
5 William Gilpin (172-1-- 1804) from Ob ervations on theIRiver f!T'ye
Every vi•
Having developed his concept of the picturesque a~1d provided the geneLI principles for its area, which
definition !see V82), Gilpin proceeded to apply it in a series of summer tours made between mark the P•
1768 and 1776 through the scenery of the British Isles. The resuhs were published Ifthe\V)
between 1782 and 1791 in a series of localizei;l 'Observations rela~ve to picturesque screen: the
beauty', vanously illustrated with aquatints of the kinds of pictures that might result. At a If a road
lime when outdoor drawing and sketching were widely practised as pqlite and improving would be tt
activities, this was a highly successful move. EquiJped with Gilpin's directions and with his
the country
eloquent analyses, his readers could go out into the countryside and elevate sightseeing
to the status of a high-cultural pursuit. They migHt even return with some sketches that views it cxh
would look like Art. Among those who made a 'p1ctpresque tour' of the River Wye were Sir Bu t the '
Uvedale Price !VB13, 15) and the landscape des1gner Humphry Repton (in 1790/1). inji1111d1• ra
Gilpin's various 'Observations' were to be continua~y reprinted over the next half-century. Thev are
The tour of the River Wye was the first to be publis ed, as Observations on the River f.We, screens i' e
and several parts of South Wales, &c., relative chi fly to Picturesque beauty; made In the sid.:-screcns
Summer of the Year 1770, London: R. Blamire, 1 82. Our excerpts are taken from the Again, th
original edit1on. Section I, pp. 1-2 and Section II, Jp. 7-1 4. more or l.:s
eithe-r wi nd~
SF.CT!O:V '- \ I These Jilr.
the sides mi
We rr:wel for various pu rpos.:s: to e-xplore the c~lture of soils; ro ,-jew the curiosities both may b<
of arr; to sur-·ey the bc:turies of nature; [()search ror her produu ionsl and to le:trn the pounded.
m:~n.ncr~_ of m~n; their different politics, and mqdes of life. . I Besides tt
I he followmg lmlc work p roposes :1 new o~jccr of purSUi t; that of not barely name ofuma
e .\ :tmining thc f:1cc of a <.vunrry; but of examiping it by the ruk~ of picturesque we have y.:t
bca uty: 1hat of mH merely describing; but of *dapting the description of nanmd ansc.
scene!') to the principles of artificial landscape; ~nd of openi ng the 6ources of those The uman
pleasures, which are deri,·cd from the comparisdn. - and b1111din
Obscn·atilms of this kind, through the vehif le of description, have the bcrrer The grmm
chance of being founded in truth; a~ rhc) arc 1ot the offspring ofll heor); bur are considered IX
taken w:trm li·orn the scenes of nature. as lh.:y a11isc. receiving; frt
*** the line form
declivities; at
SFCT!ON 11. ln many p
brul•en gromu
T he 'vye t:~kes its rise near the sum mi l of Plinl ufmon; and d ivid ingl rbe counties of nak~:d soil. 0
R.1dnor, :1nJ Brecknoc, passes through I lerefordshire. From then~e becoming a their ~id es it
sccunJ boundar y between Monmouth , and G loc ·stcrshire. it falls into the Severn, guncring d01
a little belo" Chcpsrow. To this place from Ross . which is a course or near .W miles, so trifling a c
it f'lows in a gen tle , unjnte rrupred stream; and ad rns, through its ,-arious rcacho.-s, a will often occ
succes""n of the most picturesque scenes. l The colo11r
The beaut) uf these scenes arises chiefly from •·o circumstances the laRy b1111ks okcr; the ash
of the river, and irs mu.zy I'OIII'sc; bol h which arf
accu ra tely obscrv! d by the poet these \\·i th pat
r:\kxanJcr Popel. when he dcscribes the W) Cl as ere/wing through its IPindillg tbat va ric ry.
bounds. It could not well euhu. unless irs banks wen: ltif~>·- I
VB Landsca\')e and the PicturesQue 837
From these two circumstances the ·icws it exhibits, are of the most elegant kind of
ver Wye perspective; free from the formaliry ~f lines. l
Every view on a ri\'Cr, thus circurystanced, is compo~ed of four grand parts; the
principles for its area, wh ich is the riYer itself; the two sitle-ureens, which arc the opposite hanl..s, and
made between 1
mark the pcr~pective; and the front-srfem, which points o,ut the windint:r of the ri,•cr.
were published If the Wye ran, like a Dutch canal, 1ft ween parallel han,ks, there could be no front-
to pictureSQue screen: rhc two side-screens, 111 that situation, would _len~thcn to a point. .
ght result. At a If a road were under the crrcumstarce of a nver wmd•rg like the Wye, rhc cffccr
and improving
would be the same. But thi;. is rarel) fe case. The road pursues the irregularity of
>ns and with his
ate sightseeing the country. lt climbs the hill; and sin ·s into the ,·alley: anti this irregularit} gi,•es rhc
sketches that views it exhibits, a different character. I
!r Wye were Sir But the views on the Wye, though composed only of these Sllnp/c parts, arc yet
n (in 1790/1). mfinite~)' Vllried. I
xt half-century. They are \'aricd, first, by the rontn .(t nf the greens. Sometimes one of the side-
•the River lijte, scree ns is elevated; sometimes the otper; and sometimes rhe front. Or borh the
ty; made In the side-screens may be lofty; and the fron either high, or low.
taken from the Again , they arc varied by the jidding of1hc side-screens over each ot!ta: and hiding
more or less of the front. When none of the front is dislovcred , the folding-side
either winds round, lil..e an amphithcat~e; or it becomes a long reach of perspective.
These simple variations admjt still fa~ther var iety from liecoming rompln. One of
rhe sides may be compounded of 1·ariops parts; while the })ther remains simple; or
,he curiosities both may be compounded; and the fro It simple: or the front alone ma~ be com-
1d to learn the pounded. I
Besides these sources of variety, ther are other circumslances, which, under the
of not barely name of omaments, still farther increase t em. Plain banks will admit all the ,·ariations
f picturesque we ha,·e yet mentioned: but when thjs p tin ness is adometl, a thousand orher ,·aricties
)n of narural 1
arise. \
1rces of those The omnmcntJ of the Wye may be ranged under four head - grnuutl - TVIJod rtJr h
- and builtlingJ. ( 1
:e the better The grou11d, of which the banks of rhc \:V'yc consists, (and 'fhich hath thus far been
eory; bur are considered only in its geueml effict,) afforbs ever~ variety. whjch ground is capable (>f
recei,·ing; from rhe steepest precipice, ro the flattest mcado11 ·l Thi~ Yariel} appears in
the line formed by rhc summ it~ of the banks; in the swellings, and el'cavations of their
declh·iries; and in the unequal surfaces off the lower grounds~
In man y places also the ground is bml:fn; which adds ne"l sources of varicf). Bv
brolmt ground, we mean on ly such ground, as hath lost its ~urf, and disco,·ers the
c counties of naked soil. Often you see a gravelly earth JJ,i,·ering from rhe hills, and shch·ing do" n
becoming a their side~ in the form of water-falls: Jr perhaps you se<i dr). ston) channels,
the Sc,.ern, guttering down p recipices; the rout:rh i>eAs of temporar) tor,rents . .'\nd sometimes
?ar 40 miles, so trifling a ca use. as rhe rubbing of shceplr!,<ainst the sides of linlc han~s. or hillocs.
J S reaches, a "ill ofren occasion very beautiful breaks. l 1
The mlour roo of the broken soil is a ~rreat source of variern the ) clio", or the red
e lojiy hanl:s oker: the ashy gTe); the bbcl. earth; or t~c marie) blue. An~ the intermixtu res of
by rhe poet these with patches of ,·crdure, blooming he. th. and other ver;erahk tints. still incrca,c·
irs D>mdiug that \'ariery. I

838 Nature and Human Nature I
Nor let rhc fastidious reader think, these remarks descend wo l"wch into detail. l'he vario
Were an extensive distance described, :1 fore~r±cenc, :1 sea-coast v1cw, :1 vast semi- lasr of irs on,
circular ran~c of broken mount:t ins, or some ot er grand display o~ nature, it would other of thc:
be trifling to mark these minute circumstance·. Bur here the hi lls around exhibit rimes, chana•
little, except foregrounds; and it is necessarv, wlkrc we have no distances, to be more These r1101
exact in fmishing objects at hand. landscape. I r
The next great ornament on the banks of th Wye, are its """"'!· In this country
there are many works carried on by fire; and t e woods bein!; ma nraincd for thtir
rocks, and n
source of pi•
use, are pcriodically cur down. As the larger trees :Ire !;encrall · left, a kind of contrast to r~
alternacy mkcs place: what is, this y~ r, a thick ·t; may, the next, l)e an open grove. them. But w
The woods themselves possess linle beaut)·, a"d less grandeur; yet, as we consider within the fra
them as the flmume11Wf, not as the <'SS<'IItial parts, of a scene. the eye must nor examine the aids of ar·
them with exacrnes.~; but com J>Ound for a gmu~f effirt. conseq uencc
One ci n;u mst3nce, ancnding th is altcrna<:y, i~ plc~sing. Many ofj the furnaces, on perfect, withe
the banks or rhe river, consume charcoal, which ~s manufitctured on the spot; and the
smoke, which is frequentl y s~,;en issu ing from tht: sides of the hills; ~nd spreading its
thin 'eil 0' cr .1 part of them, beautifully bn::aks their lin<.-s, and unites them with 6 Johann r
the sky. fron1 Ceu.:r.
The chief Jcficiency, in point of wood, is o large rrces on the ~d.~~ 1~{ the roarer;
which. dumped here and thcr~,;, wou ld divers ify the hills, as the eye )asses them; and
The Swiss aes1
remove that heavmess, wh u.:h always, 111 sum· degree, (though hnc as httlc as
Switzerland. HE
possible) .arises from the continu ity of l,'Tound They would also give distance 10 taking up an ap
the more: removed parts; which, in a scene like his, would have p~,;culiar advantage: eJected to the E
for as we hJ\'C here so link distance, we wish ro make the most of what we have.- many of the lea<
llut trees mmudiau:!y 011 I hi! .foreground cannot e suffered in thes scenes; as they study of psyche
would obstruc t the navigation of the river. 1755 he produ
Tht: roi'ks, wh ich arc cont inually starting t rough the woods, produce another standing. Inspire
omammt until~ banks of the Wye. The rock, as al orher objects, though more than all, produce a com1
receives its chid. beaut)' from t:onrrasL Some objects are beautifu l in themselves. The period. Work wa
eye is pleased with the tuftings of a tree: it as amused "ith pursuing the edd)ing of the Fine Arts
was published in
srrc-.un; or it rests with delight on the shattered akhes of a Gorhic nll n_ Such objects,
aesthetic conce1
inckpend<"nr of composition, :arc beautiful inl themselves. Bur he rock, bleak, different branch€
n:tkt:d, :111d unadorned, seems sca rcdy to dcsyrvc a place amon' rhem. Tim it supplement to C
with mo~st:s, 3nd lychcns of ,·arious hue~. :u~d you give it :1 d gree of beauty. reference work 1
i\dorn it with shrubs, and hanging herbage, an you still make it more picturesque. leading figures of
Conn.:cr it '' irh wood, and water, :tnd broken gr und; and you male it in the highe$1 his moral interpre
degrc:c imcr~sring. Its colour, and its form ar~,; u accommodating,Jrhat it generally for his treatment
blends into one of the most bcauriful appt:ndtag · of bndscape. responses but as
Different kinds of rocks have diJTerent degr 'cs of beauty. Th se on the Wyc, can be heightene(
which art: of a greyish colour, arc in general, simple, and gr:md; rarely formal, or story of the Gooc
f:mtastic. Som.:timcs they project in those beaufiful square mass.:s, yet broken and ~nderstood in em(
shannt>d in ever~ line, which is the ch:~racteristic of the most maiesric species or volume by Jason 1
Kiinste, leipzrg: ~
rock . Sometim.:~ they slant obliquely from the eye in sheh·ing di:a!:lonal strata: and
sometimes they appear in large masses of smoorh stone, detached ~om each oth.1,
Among the a ns ,
:md hal f buried in the soil. Rocks of this latter ·ind an; the most l1ampish, and the
views of in;1 ni n·w
kast p•ctures4u~. I
VB Landscape and the Picturesque 839
uch in ro detail. The various buiftfi11g.<, which arise every where on the banks of the \~ ye, form the
V, a vast semi.. last of its omamerrts; abbeys, castles, v~llages, spires, forg~, mills, and bridges. One or
ature, it would other of these venerable vestiges of t1.c past, or chearful habitations of the presen t
around exhibit .
nmes, characcenze
. a Imost every seen . II
ces. to be more These m(}rk.< q(art
. are however of\much c:rcacer use inI arti/icwl,
~ . than in natural
landscape. Tn pursui ng the beauties of nature, we range arllarge amonj! forests, lales.
n this country rocks, and mountains. The ,·arious slcenes we meet witp, furnish an incxhausted
ained for their source of pleasure. And though the \works of art may pften gi,·e anim:ainn and
left, a kind of contrast to these scenes; yet still they yre not necessary. \}'e can be amused without
an open gro,·e. them. But when we intrnduce a seen, on cam·as - when the eye is ro he confined
as we consider within the frame of a p icture, and can ~o longer range amqng the ,·arieties of nature;
st not examine the aids of arr become more necessary;\and we want the c~stle, or thc ahbcy. ro give

ror obi= or'"'' kir

conseq uence to the scene. And indeed ~e landscapc- paintrr seldom thinks his view
1e tilmaces, on
e spot; and the
'"'=· •''"" ' '"""re"''"' ,, ,,.
d spreading itS
ires them "ith 6 Johann Georg Sulzer (1720-!179) 'Landscape (ar ts of design)'

~e nf 1he water;
from General Theory o.( rhe Fi11e t ·tJ \
sscs them; and The Swiss aesthetician and philosopher Jphann Georg Sulzer \was born in Winterthur in
re as little as Switzerland. He studied theology, philosophy. mathematics anti botany tn lunch before
,.e dis ranee to taking up an appointment as a teacher of f[lathematics in Berlirl in I 747. In l 750 he was
liar ad,·antage: elected to the Berlin Academy ol Science, lwhere he came intol contact with the ideas ol
1at we have. - many ot the leading figures of the Enhghtenrpent. He was particularly influenced by the new
ccnes; as they study of psychology inaugurated sixty yea~s earlier by Locke's1empiricism (see liBll. In
1755 he produced an annotated translati9n ol David Hume's 1Essay on Human Under-
ld uce anot her standmg. lnspired by the Ency/opedieol Diderot and D'Aiembert (see IIIC7 9), he set out to
more than all, produce a comprehensive and alphabeticallY ordered synthesi~ ol the aesthetics ot the
~mst:lve.~. The
period. Work was begun on the project in l ~62, but the first volume of his General Theory
of the Fine Arts d1d not appear until 1771. ~he second volume, covering the letters K- Z.
~ rhe eddying
was published 1n 1774. Sulzer provides essa son a vast range of1topics. including general
Such objects. aesthetic concepts and processes. as wei as articles on tec~nical aspects ot all the
rock. bleak, different branches of art. Some of the artie es were later trans~rted and included in the
hem. Tint it supplement to D1derofs Encyc/opedie of 1V76/7 and the boo~ remained an mtluential
ec.: of beauty. reference work well into the nineteenth century. However. Sulzer was also crrtiCIZed by
! picturesque. leading ligures of the Sturm und Orang for th~ prescriptive character of his wrillng and for
in the highest his moral interpretation of art (see V87). The ~ssay on 'Landscape' is ol particular interest
tt it generally for his treatment of the natural landscape not only as a source of! spontaneous emotional
responses but as a means of moral elevatio~. Our moral response to landscape painting
on the Wye, can be heightened or reinforced through the rrpresentation of moral actions - such as the
·lv formal, or story of the Good Samaritan - but the effecrs of the landscape itself are already to be
understood in emotional and ethical terms. This article has been translated tor the present
·t broken and
volume by Jason Gaiger from the first edillon ~f Sulzer's Al/gemeiqe Theone der schOneo
tic.: species of Kunste, Leipz1g: M.G. Weidmanns Erben und ['eich, 1774, pp. 656-5.
al strata: and
'1 each other, 1\mong the arrs of design, this branch, w~ich presents us with so many agrce;tblc
Jish. and the views of inanimate nature, commands C<>!JSiderable respect. ffh<: fact that nearh
Vl3 Landscape and the Picturesque 85 7
c masses, bm
ovc everything ll William Gilpin (1724-1804) from 'On PictJesquc Beauty' and
!nd late. study 'On Picturesque Travel'
nc,•cr tell you,
never mcrclv In 1792 Gilpin published Three Essays: on Picturesque Beauty; on P1cturesque Travel,· and
on Sketching Landscape: to whtch is aqded a poem on Landscape Pamting (London: R.
101 sec here the Blamire}, having completed a first draft 1some twenty years barlier. A French translatron
0\1'? the cxacr was published in 1799. In the first two of these essays. rbpresented here. the ideas
1gl~ shado1 red sketched out in Gilpin's 'Essay on Prints£(V82} are develope9 with a confidence acquired
rouched. light during his series of 'Observations', and ith specific reference to Burke's 'Essay on the
oppose conspi- Sublime and the Beautiful' (IIIB6). His ar ument is that those !properties which lead us to
•e lighr in the see an object as beautiful are not necessarily consonant with those which might render it
suitable and attractive as an object to by pictured - that is, which render it picturesque
ridge, a hill or
While a Palladian villa might be the last w9rd in taste and eleg~nce, a picture of a Palladian
villa might be thoroughly tedious. In noting that the beautiful was not necessarily an
23, 27, 31,-13, adequate measure of the picturesque, Gilpin revealed just how narrow was the set of
positive aesthetic predicates generally ad[nitted into academi~ discourse. By enlargrng the
~~point which range of terms available for describing mlturalistic effects he encouraged the appreCiation
and does nor of landscape parntings - and by extension of other kinds of pictures as well - that were
J. intentionally unclassical 1n style. Furthe~. in proposing nature as the archetype of all
fat· he is from picturesque experience. he offered a measure by which actual pictures were always in
nost ca.sualh· danger of falling short. It would not be appropriate, however, either to see Gilpin as a
~cd and for straightforward naturalist, or to associatr him with the tasteifor experience of 'sul)lime'
:on 1S easy ro landscapes that fuelled Alpine travels of t~e kind Richard Payor Knight undertook in 1776.
Knight was accompanied on that occasion by John Robert Cozens, who produced a
pictorial record of the journey. Philrpp~ de Loutherbourg and J. M. W. Turner were
as of shadow,
among the artists whose subsequent travels to the Alps res~lted in pictures of lowering
1~ to
the most mountains, yawning chasms and raging tbrrents. In marked contrast to such scenes. the
H. Ho11 is it world Gilpin conceived of as picturesquejwas one in which 'the rumed tower, the Gothrc
making them arch, the remains of castles, and abbeysj might be contemplj ted in reasonable comfort.
The debate on the 'picturesque', and on its relation to the 'subhme' and the 'beautiful', was
\\'hich rci!!Jls raken up and pursued by a younger generation of English wr\ters during the 1790s and
n nature and early J800s. among them Sir Uvedalc Price (VB13, 15} and RiFhard Payne Knight (VBl4).
Our text is taken from the original editiof of the Three Essays. pp. 1, 5-8, 15-21 and
n! You muSt 41-6. Gilpin's footnotes have been omitted.
\ mannerism
; rbc listener Essa.J' 1.
I rhc g:reatcsr Disputes about bt:a ury mighr perhaps l;>e involved in less ·on fusion , i f a d istinction
tree! - And were c~rablishcd. which certainly exist}. bc1wccn $uch ob)ecrs as <tr c btaffli(ul. and
is a tree. an such as are pit"turnqur - between those, which please the eye in their natural sfaft': and
as a rrcc in those. which please from som e quality. capable of being illr'·' 'mtcd i" pai,ti".~·
Ch at~lClCt' Qr ***
nes. neither Mr. Burke, enumerating rhc properties of bt.:auty. consider,s SlllfiiiTIIIII'SS as one of 1he
rhc1· are nor most C.'>SCntial. ·.~ l•ery considerable pa~t of I he effect of beauty. says he. is cminfr ro
this q ualir y: indeed the most considcra~le: f(>r take an y healni ful ohj .,cr. and!,:;,.(' ir a
brolen. and ru!{g:cd surla..:c. and howc,·er wcll- fi>rmcd it rna~ be in other rcspcn s. it
pleases no Ionf(cr. \Vherea~. let ir want c,·cr so many of tilother coMtituenr,, if it
858 Nature and Human Nature
\\:lnl not this, it becomes more pleasing, th:1n ~ !most all t he otheri without it.'- - a pencil til<
llo\\ f~r i\-lr. ~urkc may be right in making smol1thness the most CtiiJ;id,•mbl.- source of
bea utY, T rather doub1. .'\ considerable one it c· rtainly is. j
' f'hus t hen , we s uppose, t he matter stands wi h rc~ra rd to beauti}it ol!it•cts in general.
ubjrm, but
[ should
Bur in pioures<Jile rt·pn•sclltMion it _sc~ms some\ hat odd, yet w e sh· ~I p..:rhaps find it upon it.
equal!~ true, t hat the reverse of th1s IS th e c:\Se; and that t he 1deas of neat and smooth, mastering a
insre~d of bein g picturesque, in faa dis4uali fy he object, in which they rc.-side, from case; for if :
any pretensions 10 piaureSlf/11! beauty. '\.1y f:1r her , we do not scruple to assert, that where-~s in t
rtmg/m,•ss forms the most csscmial point of diflhcnce between the 1>.-aulljitf, and the I I0\1 ever th
ptrtur.-sque; as it seems ro be that parricular qu:1 liry, which m ak ·s objects chiefly elegant figu
pkasing in painti ng-. l use rhe general rclm muglwess; bur 1 ropcrly speaking yet the sur
roughness rei:lrcs onl y LO the surfaces of bodic : when we speak of t he ir delineation, appendages
we use the word mgg<•dness . Both idea~ howev r equally t'nter int rhe picturesque; will be a wa
and borh :m; obsen •ablc in the smaller, as well 'If in the larger parts of na[tlrC - in the which !rive
outl ine, and barb. of a tree, as in rhc rude sum11it, and craggy sid~-s of .1 mountain. be-JULy rcs u
Let us then naminc our theory by an app<.'!l l to experience; and rry how t:. r these d•·cbive, fre
qualiries emer into the idea of pirwreStJII<! b•tmty and how far they ma rk that If indeed
difference among objects, which is the ground fo ur inquiry. the rcad.:r , <
-\ piece of Pallad ian nrchirccrure m ay be de_ nt in the last degrc ·.The proportion disgusts . .-\r
of it's p;lrrs - t he propriety of it's ornaments - ;md the symmetry j f the whole, may your s loven]
be highly pleasing. Bur if we inn·oduce it in picture, it imme iat·d y becomes a man of len·
fi)I'I1UI obj<:ct, and ct:<\Ses to p lease. Should we ) •ish to gi ve it pictu csqu e beaury, we deli vered in
must usc th<: mallet, instC:Id of rhe chissd : we r ust bear down one half of it, deface such. Bur rh
the O!hcr, :md throw the mu rilated member~ <ITIJUnd in heaps. In shprt, frum a smo(Jth 3ddress ro tl
bu ilding \\e must turn it inro a rouglt ruin . '\lo p,ainter , who had the choice ofrhc two it. Guido's
objects, would hesitate a moment. whole ofrhe
\gai n, whv does an c lcgant piece of gardc n-g ound make no li gu con canvas? The It is not h
shape is pleasin g; t he combinarion of rhc object , harmon ious; and 1c wind ing of the object. He li
walk in the very line o f b~au ry. All this is true· bur the smootlwe.<s of the whole, rho his complisifl
right, and as it should be in narure , oflends in r icture. Turn the Ia vn into a piece of his figures, I
brok<:n !,'TOund: p lant n 1gged oaks instead of flowering shrubs: br~ak the edges of the paitrting Stn(
"alk: gi,·e it tht: rudeness of a road: mark it with wheel- tracks; .md st':ltlcr around a wh3 t compo
fc" s tones, .md brush"ood ; in a word, instt':1d of making rhl' whole smooth, make it one side, im
Tll ll!(h; and <·ou mal..e it also picrur~squ~. -\ II the t hcr inf,r redienrs o bca ury it alreadv the middle,
possessed . Picturesque
pans can on
The :1rt of p:1 in ti ng :1llows you all you wish . · ou desire to have bc:llttifu l object were broken
p;~ inted - your horse, for insrance, led ou r of l c stable in all Ills ampe•·ed beauty. the gr•~Jt lin·
The art of painting is re:1dy to accommod ate y u . You have the b :1utiful torm you V11riety to
admirl'd in nature c~.1ctly transferred to cam·as . Be then satisfied. 'T]he art of painting finds in rou
has gi<·en you "hat ~ou wanted . It is nu injury to rho: beauty of )our Arabian. if the <k-gree. he n
p:1inter think he could have given rhc !(races of his art m ore forc'l>ly ro your cart- satisfy the e~
horse. From "'"-~
B ut does it not depreciate his arr, if h.: g)~. up a beauriful I( rm , lor one less disposed to r
h..::l uti fu~,, mcrd y becaus<' h<: could have l:('i~'<'l~. t tlu: grates ~~(~1is " ·t 1111m : j im ·ibly- unifo rm sha.
bl'C:I uSo.: H s sh:1r p lmes .1fford hm1 a g1·e:ner I:Je1 h · of cxecunon r h t e smarr touch of turning to r~

VB Landsd ape and the Picturesque 859

thout it.'- a pencil the grand desideratum of 1ainting? Docs he disco,•er nothing in pirrure.<qul'
rabfe source of object.•, but qualities, which admit o being rmdcml mi1(1 .<prrit!
I should not \'indicate him, if he yid. Ar the same rin7e. a free execution is so 'cr~
ecr.< in general. f.1scinating a parr of painting, that "f need not wonder,l ifrhe artist lay a great stres~
erhap> find it upon Jt. - It IS not howe,·er intire? 0\1 ing, a~ some jmagine. to t he difficul t~ of
at :tnd smooth, mastering an elegant line, that he prqfers a rough one. Tn part indeed this ma~ be the
y reside, from case; for if an elegant line be not dd/cately hit off, it is the most ins ipid of all lines:
to assert, thai whereas in the description of a rough)object, an error in ~cl i neaci on is not easih seen.
w riful, and the However this is nor the whole of rhc ?'a ncr. A free. bold rouch is in itself plca~in g. In
obj ects chiefly elegant fi!;ures indeed t here musr be~ ddicarc outline- a\ t least a lin e true 10 nature:
)Crly speaking yet rhc surfaces e'en of such ligur~s rna) be wuched with freedom ; and in the
:ir delineation, appendages of the composition there 1must be a mix-rure ~f rougher objects. or there
1c picturesque; will be a wan1 of contrast. In landscalc uniYersall) the r ·ughcr objects are admired ;
nature - in the " hich give the freest scope ro cxecur on. Tf the penci l b · timid , or hesitati ng. little
f a mountain. beauty res ults. The execution then nl) is pleasing, whpn the hand fi rm, and ye1
how far rhesc dccis~'·e, free!~· couches the char:tcteriftic pam; of each ~lljecr.
1e~ mark that If mdeed, Cit her m literar y. or 10 Plfture.«q ue compOsl tfOn you endcan>ur w draw
t~e reader, or rhc s pectator fr~m the su!~iert to th~ mfldc flfcrrcctllmJ! it, your affccranon
r hc proportion
he "hole, may
:cl) becomes a
:JUC beaur,· , we
llf of it, deface
man of letters. for paying attention I
d1sgusrs. At the same tunc, 1f some care. and pams be not lbesrowcd on the e.tccutwn,
VOltr slot'enlirless disgusts, as much. 1'~o perhaps the arti~ has more roSa), than rh~
hi~ eucuti1111. A 1rruth is a n·uth , "hrthcr
dcli,·ercd in the lan!(uagc of a philosop cr. or a pcasanr: an~ the mtelh·ct n:cci1~sit a~
such . Rut rhe art:isr, who deab in lines. urfac<:!., and colou~s, which arc an immediate
, from a smooth address tO the lJ'C, COilCCi\'CS the VU)' tr flh it.<e/fconcerned ~n his 11/IJdr of represen ri n!(
oicc of the two it. G uido's angel, and the angel on a s ign- po1il, are ,·er yl differe nl bcin!,:S; hut the
11 hole of the difference consists in an arfful application of lipcs. surfaces, and colours.

m can ,·a.~: The It is nor however merel) for the sal c lofhis exumiflfl, t h<!( rhe artisl values a rough
winding of the object. I Ie finds it iJ1 many other rcspccbo accommodated n'l his an. I n the first place,
the whole, tho b~s comprJSttirm rcquir~ il. If the hisrod-rainter threw all 1is draperies ~moorh (>l'cr
into a piece of h1s fi::;ures, h 1s groups, and combmaoo would be \ 'CT) a"f.ward . And 111 lrmdscape-
paimhlf!, smooth objects would vrodu ce no composition at a~. l n a moun tain-scene
he edges of the
carter around a 1
what composition could arise from th e orner of a smooth .oll comi ng for" ard on
one side. intersected b) a smooth knoll n the other; wirh a lsmoorh plain perhaps in
rmootlt. make it
;aut) it already the middle, and a smooth mountain in the distan<..-c. The I ,·ery idea is disgusrin1;.
Picrurc~que composi tion con~isrs in unidng in one whole a '.lariery of pans; and rhcsC'
parts can only be obtained from rough objccL~. If the smoo~ mountains. ~nd plains
Jeautiful objec1 were brol..en h) different object·s, the coh1position might b4 good, on ~ s upposition
npcrcd beau~. the !!rc:a lines of it "ere so before. I
Jtiful form ,·ou I :army too is cquall) necessary in l<iJ composition: so iJ umtrtJ.<t. Both these he
: art of painting finds in rough objects; and neirb cr of j hem in smooth. \'ariel') indeed. in some
'\rnhian, if the degree, he rna) find in the outline of a . mooth objecr: but b) no means enough to
) to vour cart- satisf~· the eye, "ithoul including 1he su~·ace also. \
From rou.~h objccrs also he seeks thee '1'1 rif'/iglll and shade. which thC) are as 11ell
11, for one le5S disposed to produce, as thC) are the beaut · of com position . O~c uniform li~tht. or one
more p,cibly- uniforn1 shade prod uces no effect. lt is l ht: various sur facd of objects, sometimes
: smart touch of luminl!; to rhc light in one 11ay, and somdtimcs in another, t~at giYc the painter hi~

\ 1
860 Nature and Human Nature
choice of opportunities in massing, and gradua ing both his lights, 111d shades. The colour, or
rirhuess also of t he light depends on the breaks :md little rcc.:sses,l which it finds on sublime, r
the surfaces of bodies. What the painter calls r;flmi'S.< on :1 surface, j's only a variety of When we
liule parts; on wh ich the light s hining, shews ftll it's small inequ: liries, and rough- beautiful:
nes~es; and in the painter's language, iuriches i . - The beauty alsb of ratrhmg li![IIIS simple bca
:trises from the roughn.css of objects. W hat the a inter calls" Clltc!ti),g light is a strong 'rhe mn
touch o f light on some prominent part of a su face, while th~ res~ is in shadow. A the lovers (
smooth surface h:ts no such prominences. J PlCill resq U<
Tn mlouring: also, l'l)ll,d t objects give t he paint r another advan ta!~{· Smooth bodi<'ll is I
ar~ commonlv :ts uniform in d~~ir colour, as ~~hey are in their 1urface. In glo~-sy mounrain, .
obJects, the smooth, the colounng m:1 y somejtmes vary . .ln genr al however 1t IS the p[crurc~
otherwi se; in the objects of landscape, parric~larly. The smoor~ .s:de of a hi~l is num usual f
generally of one umform colour; wluk t he fracrurcd rock presents n s grey surface, lake of Kill:
ado med with patches of greensward ru 11nin~ uolvn it's gu ttered sid s; and the broken the sweet v
ground is every where varied with an okery rink a grey gravel, or · leaden-coloured Glacier~ of
clay: so that in fact the r ich colours of the grol md arise generally from it's broken works of n :
surl:tce. amusement.
From such rc:tsonin g then we infer, that it ~~ nor merely for the sake of Bur it is r
his exemtiull, that the patnter prefers rough JCcts ro smunlh. he very essence the pictures(
of his art requires it. those variou:
nature. Nor
bursts unexp
Essay II.
of the :Hmos1
l~nough h:tS been said to shew the difficul ty r f ll$$~!:1litlg (f/1/St:S: let US then take Betides th•
anotht-r course, and amuse ourselves with scnrc{1ing njier r.ffi·cJJ. T~is is the general in the course
intention of picruresqu~ travel. We mean not: ro pring it into compelition wit h any of of figures is n
the more useful ends of tra'lelling: but as many tpvcl without any c~d at all, amusing human fj gun
thc:msclvcs without being :tblc ru give a reason "'PY they arc amused,[ we offer an end, tha.n ir is she·
wh ich m:ty possibly cnb~gc some va~":lnt mind ~; and mar indeed .1fford a ratiorutl occupations; ·
amusement m $UCh as travel for more import~n\ purposes. selection can 1
Tn n·eati ng of picturesq ue n ave l, we may constder fi rst it's object; nd secondly it's In the same
$OUrces of ttmuscmmt. I in the park, 1
It\ o/Jja t i$ beauty of every k[nd, which eithc1 art, or nawrc can ~ roducc: but it is general forms,
chiefly that species o f pirwreSIJII<' beau~y, which we h:tve endc:wourc tO characterizt ro despise evet
in the preceding essay. This great object we pul·sue through the s nery of nature; In short, ever·
and exam[ne it by the rules of pain ting. We stek it among all th" ingredients of become roo s.;
landscape_- trees - rocks - br?~cn-gro~nds ~ w<tds r ivers - lakes ~ plains:- vallies But the pier
- moun tams - and distances. I hese obJeCts 111 llll[lllse/v,,s produce m tl nac van<:ty. No limits of art. ·
two rocks, or tro:t!s arc cxacdy the same. They art v:tried , a second time, by combino- 31tention. In th
!ioll; :md :~I most ~s much, :1 third time, by differef.t ~~~lttx, and shadcs,l:ulcl other aerial - far too neat :u

only bcauriful p11rts. l

effects. Sometimes we fi nd among rho:m the exhitlirion of a mhole; bu oftener we find

T h:tt wt: may ex:unin.:: picturesque objects witlfmorc ease, it may e useful tO class
the lilies, and p.
traveller. Norhi
smooth to roug
th~m inw rh.: mblime. and the: beautijitl; rho, in fact, this distir ction is rather But among a
in:tccur:Hc . Sublimity ,tf,me cannot make an obj ·ct pictureSIJII<. Ho1 ~ver gra nd the :1fter the elegant
mountain , or th..: rock may b.::, it has no claim t l this epithet, unleT it's form. it's remains of <-'ll$t
VB Landscape and the PicturesQue 861
;hades. - The colour. or it'f accompan iments ~ave some degree o.f bt•rm(J' . .'loth in~ can he more
ch it finds on sublime. than t he ocean: but wholl~ unaccompanied. it ha~ li ttle of the picturesque.
ly a ,·ariety of When we ta~ l therefore of a su11imc object, we alwa ys understand. that it is also
'· and rough- beautiful: an we call it sublime or beautiful, only as t he ideas of suhlimin. or of
·atr/1111/!. lighiJ simple beaut} pre,·ail.
:Ia is a strong T he mriou • and ja111a.srir form of nature arc hv no means the fa, ourite ohiect!o of
to shadow. A the lovers of~~~ ndscapc. There m1~ l~e beaury in a. rurum.< objec~; and so far it ma) he
p1cturesquc: u 1 we cannot admtlc 11 met·cly for rhc sa~c of 1t s cunostty. T he fum.<
nooth bodies natura; is the naturalist's pro,·ince, not the painter's. The spiry pinnacles of the
cc. In glossy mountain. an1 the castle- Jil,c arr:lngement of th<.: rock. gi,·c no peculiar pleasure ro
lOWC\'Cr it is the picturesq1.1c eye. It is fond of the simplici~ of nature; and sees most beaut) in her
: of a hill is mosr usual forTs. The Giani's mulemay in I rcland may strike ir as a novclr~ : hut the
grey surface, lake of Ki llarney attracts it'~ :mcrltion. It woul d range with supreme delight among
td the broken the sweet ''al9~ of Swirzerland: ~ut would view on ly with a transient glance. th<.:
n it"s broken

the sake of
ven essence
amusement. I I
Glaciers ol S')1voy. Sce nes of thisl kind. as unusual. ma) please ona: but the great
works of nature. in her simplest and purest sti le, open inexhaustcd spri ng& of

But it is nor only the fon11, and the composition of the objects of landscape, which
the picrurcsqut eye exa~i ncs: it C( 1nccts them wic·h t he atmosphere. and seck~ for all
those vanous eiTccts, \\htch arc prOduced from that ,·ast, and wonderful storehoust· of
nature . Nor is there in travell ing tgreater pleasure, than when a scc.:ne of !!'raodcu r
bursts unexpectedly upon the eye accompanied ,,·ith some accidental circumsram:e
ofrhe atmosp~ere, which harmon ·,cs with it, and gives it double ,·alue.
us then taLc Bcfides the t(wuimall' face of nat re, it's Jit,iugforms fall under the picrure~quc c~c.
; the general in the course of rnwcl: and are oft'f objects of brreat attention. The anatomical scucl y
1 with any of ofligure~ is no\ attended to: we regard them merely as the ornament of scenes. In the
all. amusing human figure we contemplate neifher exactue.u r~(.fonn: nor rxpressum. an) farther
offer an end, than it ~s she'+ i n acrion: " c _me'f ly cons ider general shapes. dresses. groups, and
rd a rational occupattons: wh1ch \\ C ofren ftnd cnstwl(J• m f,'Tcater ,·aroety. and beaut~, than an,·
selection can p{ocure. ~
secondly it'~ In the same manner animals are he objects of our attention. "hether we find them
in the park, thl:: foresr, or the fie d. Here too we consider little more. t han their
ucc: but it is general forms. ~ction~. and combin rions. 'lor i~ the picruresquc eye so f:ll'tidjou~ as
cha racrcrizc to despise c,·en Iless considerable o~jects. A flight of b irds has often a plcasi ng: effect.
·y of nature; In short, everyl form of life. and bei ng has it's use ;tS a picturesque objc.:cr, till it
gr<'dicnts of become too sm!.ll for attenti on. l
ains - ,·allies Ou t the pictt rcsquc eye is not ttcrely restricted to nature . Tt ranges through the
· 'arie~·. No limit~ of art. · he picture. the stante. and the gar den are all the objects of u's
by combina- attemion . In th · embe llished pleasuf·e- ground particularly, th o all is neat. and eleg-ant
1mhcr aerial far [()0 neatanr cle~ram for the US of the. pencil; yet. if it he well laid OUt. it e>-hihits
cncr we find the ltues, and fl'r'ICtfJIC.( of hmdscap : and 1S well worth the scudy of the p1crurcsque
tra,•eller. Nothing is wan tin!(. but ' ·hat hi~ imagination can suppJ, a change from
;cfuI to cla.~s smooth to roug~1.
ln is rather Dut among al' c
the objects of art, rhc picruresque c~ is perhaps most inquisiti"~
·r t,.rrand the after the degant\rdics of ancient ar¥u tccturc; th<.: ruin ed ww<.:r, the Goth ic arch. 1he
's form. it's remains of castes, ;md abbeys. 'Lihese arc the riches t legacies of art. Thn art:
862 Nature and Human Nature
consccr:ued ll\ time; and Jlmost dcscn·c the,..,, cration we pa~ tot c works of narure \lon1,'Sidc
itsdf. of rhc I(Jreg
Thus universal an.: rhe objects of picturcs4fe travel. \Ve pmst~c '''''"'~V in everr guishcd li·on
sh:1pc; through nature, through art; and all it' · various arrangcm •nts in form, and buildings, r<
colour; admiring it in t he.: grandest objects, :l11l not rejecting it in he humbkst. follows hap~
f(>nn groups
taken m·cr a<
12 Friedrich Ramdohr (1752- 1822) 'On Lo1ndscapes and Sea depicted. If,
Pieces' from Charis, or on Beaut_Jr nnd ~he Betwtifit! in /It' tht cxccu rior
lmitath:e Arts h:Jve spirit. I
the painting:
A bndsca~
Friedrich Ramdohr was born in Hoya, near Brem n, in Germany. Fro 1775 to 1778 he
studied law and classical archaeology at GOtti gen. As a young an he wrote and the character
published a tragedy, Kaiser Otto der dritte 07~3), and he remaine a keen amateur There arc
painter and draughtsman throughout his life. Extensive travel in G~rmany, Denmark, Everdingen, :
France and Italy enabled him to extend his knowiEjdge of art, and in 1787 he published a are ai>O \ rcat
guide to the painting and sculpture of Rome (Uebfr Mahlerei und Blld~uerkunst in Ronj. 11ind-ruffied
Hts major work. Charis, or on Beauty and the Be ulifu/ in the lmita/We Arts I 1793) was a Finally, there
more ambitious attempt to provide a theoretica account of beauty on the basis of a by D utch ani
sensualistic theory of the drives, followed by a d ailed study of the d fferent domains of observe rh:n tl
art. In a letter to Goethe 17 September 1794), Sch ler criticized the abs ract section of the of the colours.
book, but maintained that he had gained a great eal from the empiric I parts. where the
characwr of tt
author discussed the different arts. However, Ra dohr's work becam a target of attack
1 v. ho ha vc sou;
for the early German Romantics, who sought to Cllstance themselves om the normative
aesthetics of the Enlightenment. Wilhelm Wackenroder, for example, dffers his own Cw awakening in
fess10ns from the Heart of an Art-Loving Friar as a self-conscious alternative to Ramdohr's definite charac
'cold. critical gaze' (see VIBl ). Ramdohr was subs quently to become i volved in a dispute light, rhe choio
over Caspar Dav1d Friedrich's painting, The Cross 1 the Mountains (see 1812 and 13). Tr.e rigorous, in ot
section of Chans devoted to landscape painting r veals a remarkable ensitivity to nature A landscape
and to the distinctive qualities of landscape art. Ra dohr holds elevated or striking subject· particular f(Jrnl
matter to be less important than the overall effect, nd maintains that o r moral responses of light, on the
to nature are more likely to be awoken by a rap d sketch than by a inished work. The giving distincu
artists mentioned 1n the text include Johannes Gauber (Dutch, 164 I 726) and either
!he drawing of
Fredrick de Moucheron (German/Dutch, 1633-861 or Isaac de Moocheron (Dutch, 1667-
foliage, is s<.':lrc
1744). All three artists specialized in ltalianate lanl:!scape views. The tdllowing translation
has been made for lhis volume by Jason Gaiger fr m Charis, oder ueb r das Schone und Lorrain, had on
dte Schdnheit in den nachbildenden Kiinsten, vol me 2, Leipzig: Veri g der Deutschen the drawing of
Buchhandlung, 1793, pp. 124-31. docs not need n
~ctual disro rrior
,\ landscape paiming may only be considc ·c.l beau riful when rho: ,·iewer has or building $ho
rh.: li:ding that he has see n somcrhing si milar tf:ron: in narure or {he helie,·es rlur i>olation. r[ is d
~om<:thing similar could cxisr in narure and rhar he would imm~diarl:lr recognize it as \\hich mu~'t appo
.1 rl"JI place. Here too. indi,·idualiry is necess:1r . Bur if there is no uniry or relation whole is cvid~m
berwccn tht: parts, :md if beauty is to be fou 1d nt:ither in the ·hole nor in the lr is very dat
derai ls, tht:n we cannot spc:ak of a beautifu l aiming. No mauu how poetically provide a b~':l ur
composed th~ la nd scapes of Origonn:, Mouche on and others, the c:mnor be con- canJlOl be capr111
sit!.:: red bc:1 uriful. painterly dfcct.
foreground or b